This has given a rise to the idea that Millennials have affected the diamond market. Sure, they’ve started to pay more attention to experiences rather than things and show interest in more alternative rings.
But a closer look shows that Millennials haven’t stopped buying diamonds altogether. They spent $26 billion on the stones in 2015 alone, more than any other single generation, according to the De Beers Annual Diamond Insight Report. So, let’s view both these sides – are millennials really rejecting diamonds or is it just a myth?
NOT A LOT OF MILLENNIALS ARE GETTING MARRIED
Statistics are always a better way of seeing the big picture, so let’s take a look. Researches show that Millennials are getting married later or not to the same degree as the previous generations. Some part of them is not even getting married at all. So what does that say?
Despite being on average better educated than people of the same age were in previous decades, lower proportions of Millennials find themselves employed. Overall, their real income level is lower than Generation X’s was in 1998.
As a result, US Millennials have progressed more slowly along the traditional life path of college, job, marriage and children. Moreover, in 2014 only 28 per cent of Millennials were married, a number, which is more than 40% lower than it was for the Baby Boomer generation.
According to research from Allen Downey at Olin College, 47% of women born in the 1990s will stay unmarried until the age of 33, as compared to 38% of women born in the 1980s. That’s an overwhelming increase from the small nine percent of women born in the 1940s who were single at 33. That was a lot of statistics, right?
Millennials also see relationships in a different way than older generations: They tend to treat them as partnerships and work as a team. The perception of a classical marriage in the 1950s, working husband, stay-at-home wife, has changed, and consequently, other traditions, such as buying and wearing a diamond engagement ring, have changed too.
THEY GO FOR MORE “NON-TRADITIONAL” RINGS
Another factor that has affected the diamond market is that young couples have started to shift their interest towards other stones, such as sapphires or rubies, to symbolize commitment.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Ashley Wallace said in a research note from June 2016; “Millennials are more value conscious, pay more attention to sustainability and ethical production, and often prefer unique and individual products to products that are standardized and mass-produced.”
Alternative options may not be as glittery or romantic, but saving for a future investment into a house together signifies a deeper level of commitment than the conventional diamond ring. They’re also considered more fashionable, particularly in art-deco-style jewellery.
Society’s pressure might persuade the community that a traditional diamond ring is the utmost determinant of commitment. However, the rebellious mindset of the Millennials resent the perception brought upon them by the community. As a consequence, they have started to look for alternative signifiers of their love and loyalty, besides a diamond ring.
PRIORITIES HAVE CHANGED
Millennials increasingly value experience over material possessions. Young couples would rather spend their money on a wedding or honeymoon than waste the budget on a diamond ring. This can partially be explained by their changing view of ownership in contrast to other generations. And besides, it is those laughs, dances under the rain and spilled wines that stick in our memories.
Instead of striving towards exotic cars and huge mansions, Millennials value experiences, such as vacations and concerts, more and pay more attention to what they can post about on social media. For example, by saving money on a ring that is merely for commercial attention, the couple would rather travel to Hawaii for a week or two. These kinds of experiences and memories are more valuable to Millennials than the symbolism of a diamond ring.
MILLENNIALS SEEM TO BE WARMING UP TO DIAMONDS
Certain aspects of the diamond market may seem to be affected by the spending habits of Millennials, however, that isn’t to say diamonds, particularly among younger people, are over. Diamonds are still high on the Millennials’ wish list to receive as gifts.
Millennials and older generations share many of the same views and attitudes to life, love, marriage and family, and lifetime values. However, these become visible later in their lives, since they reach financial maturity later. As the Millennial age group is a decreasing portion of the population and is yet to mature financially, it has a less obvious presence in the diamond sector.
However debatable the fact might be, Millennials haven’t grown out of diamonds. They simply either haven’t reached financial maturity or choose to signify their commitment with alternative methods.
Surveys conducted by The Knot and JamesAllen.com consistently show that when it comes to weddings, Millennials are actually much more mindful of tradition than they’re generally thought to be. Isn’t that surprising?
And that is not all: there are other interesting insights about Millennials that you might not know. Survey from online diamond retailer JamesAllen.com confirms that younger men are actually more likely to propose on bended knee with a diamond ring in hand than men from older generations.
So it is hard to push on the fact that Millennials reject diamonds. In fact, it is not the shiny heavy rock they have a problem with. It’s simply the fact that unforgettable lifelong experiences seem to be more important to this crazy and incredible generation.
However, saying that Millennials have fallen far from the old traditions of love would not be quite right. Moreover, the diamond industry is ready for the flow of Millennials buying diamonds.